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Anyone listening to the Chancellor’s budget may have thought he had truly discovered the magic money tree and were maybe quietly wondering who was going to pay for all his giveaways. But funds he will need aplenty if, in these fast moving times, he is going to bu ress those unfortunate individuals and businesses swept up in the current devastating shutdown as the coronavirus pandemic casts its long shadow. And the milk market is not immune. e prospects for milk price increases had in the main been climbing nicely up the ladder, but the virus threat means those potential hikes have now slid down the snake, mostly to lower than where the ladder started. It means one of the recent price risers, Meadow Foods, has dropped its price by a very startling 2ppl for April for some of its producers, and is unlikely to be the last processor to do so unless the long-term outlook changes soon. Nature However, despite the dire nature of the present threat, it may ultimately put the spotlight on food supplies, and with cargo vessels around the world stuck waiting to unload, it is di cult to see how importing foodstu s from thousands of miles away could ever be more reliable than those produced in the next county. Maybe with the sight of empty shelves, the Government will at last realise how quickly supply chains can be disrupted by unforeseen bolts out of the blue. Maybe. But despite the virus threat, there seems to have been no light bulb moment yet. At the Oxford Farming Conference, not a single delegate believed the then Minister of Agriculture’s assurances, and the sense among delegates at the recent NFU conference was that con dence in the Government that it wouldn’t sell the sector down the river had not changed signi cantly. It is li le surprising when we get such nonsense from Treasury advisers like ‘Britain doesn’t need farmers’ and that we should be more like Singapore where all foodstu s are imported, and makes you wonder what on earth these people are on. Right now, if the fragility of feeding the nation does not imprint on Government’s mind the need to encourage domestic agriculture, it is di cult to see what will.